Entertainment, Hardware, Software Programs

Zune HD gets game[S], but are they any good?


The Zune HD has at long last gotten an infusion of content. This morning we find that the rater sparse offerings have been increased by about seven. But these are not just the same old plain boring games that we saw at the launch some of these are rather impressive titles.

The new games come on the heels of the 4.3 software update and are some of the first to really show what the Tegra SoC and OLED screen are capable of. As soon as we heard about this we went out and grabbed a couple to see what they were all about.


New games and Apps for the Zune HD finally arrive!

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Our first victim was the racing game pgr: ferrari edition. Surprisingly this racing game was pretty fun to play. The controls are space out on the screen well enough to give good visibility and the built-in accelerometer does an excellent job of registering your movements for steering.  Audio was well done, but again I found myself wanting an external speaker. So I did not have to have my headphones in. The graphic were also very good. The OLED screen and Tegra really shine here there are a few noticeable jagged lines, but in all I felt the graphics and controls for pgr: ferrari edition are better than what I have seen on the iPhone.

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Next up was Audio Surf Tilt. This game was also pretty cool and has a Guitar Hero flare.  You use an existing audio file on your Zune HD to create a "race track" that you have to navigate through. Along the way you tilt the Zune HD in order to avoid speed bumps and collect colored blocks. The more you collect the more points to gather that allow you to unlock more tracks and features in the game. This is another one that requires you to have your headphones in (where is that external speaker!) but still was quite fun to play.  While the game is quite fun the graphics are a tad on the boring and cheesy side. I was not at all impressed with them but in the end the playability and "fun" factor of this game made them only a minor concern.

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VANS SK8: Pool Service for me was not that great. The graphics were not impressive and the controls felt a little awkward.

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Last up was an intriguing app called keyboard. Normally I do not play with the virtual instruments found on PMPs or gaming systems this one was a little different though. I got a kick out of playing with it. I doubt it will stay on my Zune HD for long (as there is a big novelty factor). Still if you are interested in something like this it is there for you to play with.

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Now for the biggest thing about these games and apps; they are ALL free. Yes that is right all you need is a Zune HD and the Zune Desktop software to get them and to play them.  Now this is a great move by Microsoft and is certain to increase interest in the Zune HD, but there is an old saying that if it looks too good to be true it is. This time the caveat is that these games and apps include a short add during launch that is downright annoying to be honest as it adds several seconds to the application load times.

Overall the new games are a good move and one that has been a long time in getting there, but as always better late than never!